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Tom Allen Education. (2013) 'Dangerous Convictions What's Really Wrong With the U.S. Congress.' New.

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Us 11, America 8, U.s. 5, Rick Perry 3, United States 3, Washington 3, Maine 3, Jimmy Carter 2, David Brooks 2, Gingrich 2, Obama 2, Patrick James 2, Mitch Mcconnell 2, Donald Rumsfeld 2, Baghdad 2, New York City 2, China 2, New York 2, Tom Mann 2, Hawaii 2,
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  CSPAN    Book TV    Tom Allen  Education.  (2013) 'Dangerous  
   Convictions What's Really Wrong With the U.S. Congress.' New.  

    February 16, 2013
    7:00 - 8:15pm EST  

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jimmy carter library because my late father was one of those very early in the carter presidential campaign who went to hear this governor, former governor from georgia, was very impressed paula wrote some sort of check and became a big fan of jimmy carter throughout his career. in their wish my father could see me know, because i know he would be excited. but it is -- so i think you for that. i also want to say that this is an opportunity to discuss the things we haven't year as a country of the last few years and to try to figure out what has gone wrong and how we can make it right. that is a conversation that really the more people that are involved in the better off we really are. first thing i will say about
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dangerous convictions is to give you a sense of wire rope. someone has said that you write to scratch an itch or to deal with something that is bothering you, that is certainly the case with this book. and i would say, first of all, there is -- this may come as no surprise to you -- a real frustration with how the media, the mainstream media and the partisan media covers what politicians do in congress. a lot of frustration that we simply cannot say completely what you want to say, even about what the problems are or what you are trying to do. and the second thing is that there is, as in my case, considerable confusion about our republican colleagues. and so the confusion about what they were really thinking. so i spent the better part of four years thinking and writing about revising this book.
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i do, as he said, work for the association of american publishers. i have to say, being an advocate for the publishing industry for the publishers and authors and all the people who are involved in it to my being an author has given me another -- an inside look at that industry, and i have to say how grateful i am dr. university press, it's incredible team of people who helped make this book better than when i delivered it to them so let me -- and going to read a few selections from the group and then watch it through the chapters, a few of them, not into much detail, and then i want to conclude by some comments on the presidential election. i'm going to begin, first of all, -- of get this right -- by expanding the title.
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if his only worked. that one. well. i can do it either. if there is some way to a make it work for later on, that would be good. the title, "dangerous convictions," comes from a statement by a philosopher who wrote, convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth that lies. no, we all want people elected to a the people of conviction, right? don't we? the trouble is that sometimes people hold convictions that are not supported by the weight of evidence or expertise, and when that happens, let's just say, life gets very, very complicated and so here is how i began. this is from the interaction. i will read a little bit here and then jump ahead slightly. to these guys believe what they're saying? sitting in that chamber the u.s. house of representatives,
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listening to a heated debate, we asked that question about our republican colleagues. we usually thought the answer was no, but if so, they were phenomenally good actors. their arguments made no sense to us. such well-known phrases as tax cuts paid for themselves. we will be welcomed as liberators. climate change is improving and government-run health care does not work. repeated over and over again. republican arguments along these lines seem incomprehensible to democrats, just as ours seemed misguided to them. the evidence that medical tests made no difference to them. free-market principles that they took as given conflicted with the information that we took every day from our constituents, and the economists that we consulted. news media preoccupation with lack of stability makes -- missed the point. i traveled of republican members
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of congress to the middle east and enjoy their company. we worked out together in the house gym. still, more time socializing with each other would not have closed the chasm between our competing views of the world and the role of government. it is those world views and the lack of comprehension on both sides that cripple the capacity of congress to make a bipartisan , strategic, public policy decisions. this i came to see is our greatest institutional weakness, and it defies simplistic yours. congress today is deeply divided because, to each side the opinions of the other make no sense. and therefore, they cannot be honestly held. interscope politics is still with us, unprecedented amounts of money, but it is over tweeted and dominated by what i can only call world view politics, a clash of values and convictions
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much steeper than the competition of interest groups in washington. we need a new perspective to visualize congressional polarization. the media and political commentators typically ride the gap in views between all right and left. but republicans and democrats speak past each other, not because they are too far apart, but because they operate on different planes, higher and lower, from the ground by evidence and expertise, and that, i would say, is something that has changed significantly in the last 20 years. when i came to congress in 1996, the phrase kept hearing from the other side was family values. you can -- we all had assessed that probably what that meant. you don't hear that phrase anymore. what you hear in its place is republican principles.
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and it turns out that there is really one fundamentally important republican principle, and that is smaller government, lower taxes. i think it is one, not to. it is really one, and that turns out to be much more difficult to deal with than the more vague notion of family values. but i have tried to do in this book is pick topics to consider the matter not those that where it -- that are like abortion, gay marriage, even immigration. those things are so deeply buried in our fundamental attitudes toward world that, you know, you would expect them to be very, very difficult. so what i did was, i tried to pick for topics, for substantive topics where in the past we used to be will to compromise differences across the aisle. not always easily.
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don't get me wrong, and that was the federal budget, health care, and climate change. so, what i would like to do now is to of run through the first of those sectors. i served on the budget committee for four years, the last four years i was in congress. paul ryan was on the committee then. we invited economists to comment, and there was this seamless vista our conversations all the time. the republicans would repeat over and over again, tax cuts pay for themselves, or if they step back from that of little bit they would say tax cuts paid for themselves. or at least, you don't have to really think too hard about the reduction in revenue. and yet at the same time we all read about the first bush tax cuts which were designed to be over one half trillion. the reason it was described as
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the tax cut was because it reduced revenues or was expected to. and so listening to people talking about tax cuts paid for themselves and pick up the paper were looked at materials and the congressional budget office and they would say, well, this tax cut is going to reduce federal revenues over ten years. these views made no sense. these two kinds of statements put side-by-side made no sense. it's crazy for those of us. but for the republicans, most of them, that did not believe the cbo numbers are right because there were most surprised by that form of economic theory where the assumption is that if you reduce tax cuts it will stimulate the economy so much that it will actually come close to, if not actually increase
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federal revenue. but when we heard that it made no sense. now, here is where it really gets, i think, in some ways, even worse. i have to say, mitch mcconnell does provide me with a lot of material. [laughter] in 2010 the two big tax cuts were all won in 03. in 2010 at a time when, you know, it was pretty clear that that first decade would yield the revenue reductions on the scales somewhere between two and $3 trillion over the first ten years, mitch mcconnell, july 2010, he confirmed the next day that what senator john kyl had set a few days earlier was accurate. he said, there is no evidence whatsoever that the bush tax
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cuts actually diminish revenue. the increased revenue because of the vibrancy of the tax cuts and the economy. i think what the senator was expressing was the view of virtually every republican on that subject. and i was, this is no kind word that you can say in response to that. they're making this up. they have to be making the sub. to they believe it? a thing to do. the truth is, i think they do. i think one of the things in the last two chapters that i have spent some time with is a lot of the recent research about how we think or don't think about religion and politics and how so many of the views that we believe, all of us, carefully reasoned and fought out, grounded in some deeper attitudes and deeper values and deeper life experiences, what i
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call world use that really shape or more specific beliefs, both in religion and in politics. so, not going to do too much of this, but i want to show you one of the charts. i don't try in this book to make an elaborate case where every single thing that i say, what i am trying to do is paint a broad landscape of what is wrong with in this country the walleye the population and congress's polarized and why that leads to congressional gridlock. let me do this first. this chart has been called the essentials chart for understanding, you know, the consequences that our budget conundrum are causing. what it shows is as of may 2011, this is done by the center for budget policy and priority based
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on cbo numbers. this shows the price of the annual deficit due to the board -- wars, the bush-era tax cuts to recovery measures. that means primarily the bush stimulus and the obama's stimulus program. troubled asset relief program, fannie, freddie, and the economic downturn. you can still make this out, and you can see from where we are today in 2013, the time this was put together, the single biggest factor in the annual deficits that we will experience of the next several years was not from the economic slowdown, but it was because of the revenues that were taken away by the bush tax cuts. now, we all know now because of the legislation that was just passed, some portion of that tax
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revenue that has been shown on this chart is being lost will be recovered because at least for upper-income taxpayers they're going to go back to clinton-era tax rates. but the point in trying to make with this one chart, this is the real world. the idea that tax cuts pay for themselves is not the real world. when one side believes one thing in one side believes the other, there is not much room for consequence. i will come back to white, and they should be part of how you think about this. why is it that the two sides believe such different things? why do one depend on evidence and the other on broad principles about the size of government, individual liberty, and so forth and so on. so let me -- i can do this. of want to go back to that. let me move on to the experience
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. i am sure -- you all understand, and i think most people agree that the signature issue for the bush of illustration, the ones that had the most consequence and the ones that will shape the bush administration's place in history, that tax cut and the invasion. so you can imagine how difficult these decisions were and with respect before going in a committing all those troops and hundreds of billions of dollars, you can imagine that it took a lot of meetings to decide whether or not to make that decision and if so how you doing because as a way that it is. you could imagine those meetings. the national security council and bush's inner circle, the war council. you can imagine those meetings, but there was not a single meeting held by the national security council, bush's top people about whether or not to invade.
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not one. not one. but, what that tells you is the evidence, the detail, the circumstances, what would happen, what the consequences would be of putting in 150,000 american troops. they're should have been more. that was not taken into account. the second thing that is interesting, donald rumsfeld believed, you go in, take over baghdad and pullout because, in this came out in a report written four years later. it came out because donald rumsfeld gave a speech in february just before the invasion saying we have to go in and pull our troops out and leave the iraqis to their own devices essentially because otherwise we will create a dependency among the iraqi people. think about this phrase. culture of dependency.
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we all know it came up in the whole debate during the clinton administration with welfare reform, but it is -- to understand where republicans are coming, at least some republicans in congress these days, it is very important to understand how real, how important it is that their view, that government infringes on personal liberty almost a matter what it does and that it fosters dependency among the population. but those convictions, those views were an obstacle, even to having a conversation between the secretary of state, the secretary of defense. a real conversation about whether or not the invasion should take place or the country should do more by way of sanctions and other forms of pressure. the interesting thing to me about what happened coming here is something i got completely
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wrong. when the president in december of those six basically asked if he had lost control of congress to decide to do a search. people like me but, well, this is stupid. they're going really badly, really, really badly. this is an effort to delay the day of reckoning. we have a different strategy. but i did not know and love a lot of people did not know is the surge was not just an increase in the number of troops. it was a different strategy. what is fascinating about this. it was -- see the book called the gamble if you want to learn more about it. three people a retired general to the general, in baghdad, and the number two person in the military hierarchy and david patraeus basically decided that the strategy of protecting
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american troops in these large, you know, not punkers, large compounds was not working at all, and they had to be out among the people. they had to defend the civilian population. and so the search involved that transformation. and the truth is that it -- if it wasn't the whole reason we were gaining ground later and the 2007, it was an important part of it. it was in evidence-based strategy. was in evidence-based strategy, and that they can i describe it here why it was so different from the original strategy. what they cooked up was a real counterinsurgency strategy, like what patraeus had done before and i think that is why -- that is one of the reasons why it got turned around. let me step more quickly to health care. the interesting thing, to me, about this issue -- well, there
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are several interesting things. let's talk about obamacare. incredibly controversial. incredibly controversial. passed without one single democratic vote in the house and senate. what were its origins? lots of people. well, but romney did something like that in massachusetts. but you can go back to 1989, stuart butler at the heritage foundation came up with something called the heritage plan. and what to the heritage plan include? included regulated exchanges in which private insurance company would compete for beneficiary. and it included an individual mandate. it was actually for more than a decade, primarily a republican idea about how you could do close to universal health care.
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but the mid part of the up, 2005, the democrats really more interested. republicans are falling away. and i think, that is the republican universal health care plan. by the time it came out obama was for it and no republicans were for it, and even a libya's know and i made a real effort to work on a compromise position, eventually bailed, i think in part, because of the pressure to conform being so great. and, you remember, repeal and replace. repeal of the place. that was the mantra after it passed on the republican side. why didn't we ever see a plan to replace? really because it involved a government action on a scale that republicans could not
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accept. and this gets back to what i was saying before, a little bit earlier. for many of them this is not about trying to figure out how to serve, you know, how to expand health care. what they're primarily worried about is the feeling that government infringes on personal liberty and creates dependency among the populations. therefore, almost anything we do in some of these areas is going to be resisted. and that is -- i come back to it. that is why the capacity to track across the aisle is so difficult because we are basically talking about individual, very different world views. no, i want to the go to a chapter five, which is climate change, denial of public policy. here is one of the clearest places because scientific evidence for the earth. the earth is warming, the carbon emissions and other man-made emissions that are the proud
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mary koss. and that we are facing some catastrophic consequences and expenses down the road if we don't deal with it. so why do we have such trouble even admitting. and i would say coming here is just the basic background. basic background, this risk -- the red light migrate up to the right hand side, the late 1950's . in hawaii they have been taking atmospheric measurements of carbon dioxide concentration and it goes up and down every year based on the seasons, but that trend line never changes course. it just goes up and up and up and up and up. a lot of people don't realize is that a lot of that carbon dioxide is getting of store by the russian. and what about -- about one-third of his billions or by
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the ocean. when it gets into the ocean it turns into carbonic acid. and so the russians today are becoming more acidic at a rate faster than any time in the last 50-100 year -- 50-100000000 years. and that low or line, that green line, that bounces up and down, but that is a measurement of the ph at the station called aloha, which is near my lot in hawaii. this is one of the greatest threats to the planet that comes from from the change because the more acidic the ocean water the more likely it is to destroy, i mean destroyed or prevent even from growing, tiny, tiny organisms at the bottom of the food chain in the ocean. and if you kill off the bottom of the food chain, consequences are incredibly in want -- alarming. one of the things i did was to develop the bill and that
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emphasized during much more research on certification. i did not quite have the support republicans and democrats got on board, but it was a new program with new money. so by the time it gets to the leaders it died and tell we offer it and the 2008 and obama took office and put that part of that program into the stimulus package. and so now we are finally trying to get information on how -- the consequences, and there is always a lot that we don't know. no, the last two chapters on this book, it was thick. really about -- mentioned before briefly, we think about politics as if we were reasoning at all times. but, in truth, there is this huge gap in the way people think
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about politics and how they form their political and religious views. and let me just read a couple of paragraphs here that i think should go, should help summarize. democrats see republicans as an attentive to evidence and expertise, unconcerned about americans struggling to it by command opposed government action to deal with our collective challenges. on the other hand, republicans see democrats as the party of a government that routinely infringes on personal freedom, has created some of the culture of dependency among people who should stand on their own. promoting the change from traditional values that will leave as weaker than before. these different perspectives drive congressional debates far more than the immediate subject before the house on any given day. above all, the dividing class between the view of government as a vehicle for the common good and the view of government as an
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obstacle to progress of personal freedom has close -- become close to the center of our ideological grid lock which is why i believe that congress is best characterized as a form for interest group politics to mull over led by world view politics, and it is the latter struggle that contributes more to the dysfunctional nature of the institution. >> okay. a couple more comments, and then on going to say just a few words about the -- to brief reading some and then i am going to turn to the 2012 collection, which is not in the book because the book was written before that. despite the 24-7 coverage of congress, most reporting and commentary mrs. the conflict and world views that beneath the surface of our debate shapes our positions and intensified polarization. as a result, the diagnosis is often incivility, which is a symptom, not disease.
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the remedy usually proposed can track past and present, high-level we have lost and suggested we try to recapture the past. for example, in an earlier era, members of congress tended to live in washington with their families and go across party lines. the ability of president reagan in speaker tip o'neill to enjoy each other's company is often seen as an example of how to make the divided federal government work. more senior members of congress or retiring often lament that the days are gone, but we are not going back. members are expected to spend more time talking with constituents. their spouses and children and children are less willing to be uprooted from their jobs, schools, and france to move to washington. the strong personal relationships help members work together. they cannot realistically be fostering a return to the living in treating patterns of an earlier peril, revising greater
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mutual understanding which has to be in liberal undertaking by those willing to reach out. now, i am going to -- and said to someone before this began. i said, you know what the hardest part of this contract to figure out, writing the last chapter, trying to explain where we go from here. but in my work working through the issues that confronted them there were four areas where i think -- and these are just ideas and attitudes, but there are four areas where we are deficient. especially deficient in these areas and the way the media covers politics and we are also deficient, from what i have called the radical individual, and that is what some republicans believe has taken over -- i have to go back to this. i have to go back to as quickly. this -- this is part of the conversation. this is an illuminating study.
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a group of people at george washington and george mason and yale give a study called six americans. and unlike the conventional poll, they basically segmented the population based on how they felt about climate change and what other activities they did, basically have an gates they were. and so the groups that they chose, the varying amounts of people who were most concerned most concerned, the next most-active, the costs to disengage. the measure of wage of these groups are most engaged in political activity. take a look. this is the picture of polarization in america.
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on the left-hand side, the lawyers make up in the survey 18 percent of the population. 95 percent of them say in response to a question, there is no way they're going to change their views of private change as a major you put those together. 18 percent. they are the next big active group in the community. they, 90 percent of those people will say there is no way that they are going to change their view. climate change is a hope. it is no long-term problem. but never causes a problem as part of the natural cycle of things, and the truth is that it would be almost impossible simply by providing scientific evidence to persuade them what they believe is not true because they are so determined in their
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beliefs because the consequence of believing the alternative means government would have to do -- take a much larger role, certainly with leaders and certainly in other respects as well corporal we regulatory. to deal with this problem. the vast -- that deeper reason why it is so hard for some people to believe that climate change is a serious problem because if they admit that then the whole view of government is and what it means to our individual self-reliance vanishes. so, i have talked, coming back no. this is where -- this is what i think is wrong. the way the media covers our politics and with the way we think about politics.
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how often have you heard reporter say, what is your evidence for that? let me tell you? not nearly enough. not nearly enough. i remember when i was in congress getting calls from reporters. it would drive me crazy. reporter would call up and say, i have a question for you. even as the question, and after one answer he would say, well, i guess that's all i have. and i knew he had the story entirely written except for one blank which said ." he put it in and was gone. is that kind of coverage that i think is -- we now have vehemently partisan media and mainstream media, but the mainstream media, except for public television, i think when public radio is not give enough time to a lot of these topics to really inform. there are few exemptions. the ambiguity. here is -- here is an example
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that struck me during the campaign, the 2012 campaign. you remember rick perry? rick perry came on, he was looking like a good candidate for the republican side. and then he stood up and was asked, three federal agencies that he wants to eliminate. and then he could not remember one of them and he wound up saying, groups. and that was in the news for weeks. you remember? 24-7. what is this going to do with the campaign? oh, my gosh. he doesn't know he's talking about. well, nobody, at least the ones i heard, had never heard anybody say, well, suppose you eliminate no, 4-$5 billion is no which basically provides all of our
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weather information, virtually all of it, has satellites up in the sky. they're tracking was going on. what you do with that $45 billion? no that because of the work we do in the book publishing industry, the apartment of commerce is over there in china trying to make sure that the chinese government understands that what we sell books, when we bring books to china that they're going to do -- they're going to do at least everything they can to make sure they're not being stolen, pirated, copied. the department of energy, that was one of the three. the department of energy regulates oil and gas. so if you eliminate that department what happens? the department of education funds about 12% of u.s., the u.s. -- kate as 12 additional. you eliminate education.
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what happens? those were the questions that should have been asked of rick perry because those are the questions that might break through the difference is the people have as to whether or not the local of the federal government is too big. receptacle eliminated department and those assembly of a role to play in education. but it is that data, that evidence that is, i think, really, really quite important. now, with that said -- obama let me go back one second. caring about consequences. what i mean there is really, that's more about health care than anything else. is 50 million people, and i'm sure close to 50 million uninsured cannot talk about the plan to deal with it seems to me just to become a you know, an unbelievable acceptance of a condition that once you understand what it means for people in this society not have health care and to risk getting sicker going -- if they get sick
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to go bankrupt and had a drop of -- to drop out of college. once you understand that you really need to do something about the particular problem. a commitment to the common good. james madison was putting this constitution together, what he was trying to do was, he was trying to figure out how to set up a set of institutions that would encourage people not just to act in their own individual -- in their own individual interest, but what he called deployment in aggregate in the community, the common good. and that is really hard to achieve, but if we don't even try to figure out how to share, come to a shared conception of the common good, we are really, i think, in trouble. so, no of going to wrap. with the election. how many of you saw the
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president's second inaugural? heard it, whenever? most of you. i was fascinated by the reaction of some of the commentators and a couple of columnists on the wash and post to said, hey, it is a pedestrian speech. was flat. note soaring vision. and i thought it was great. you know, you know where i'm coming from. and then, david brooks, david brooks column in the new york times was fascinated. they believe, as i think you can gather from now that i think american politics is about me and we. is about self-reliance and cooperation, individualism and community, and those parts of the american psyche which ought to be in dollars have been static device but apart, and we have a war on our most fundamental values, war between
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two tribes, each claiming one part. and a half. one half of the american psyche. what david did was to say, that was one of the best inaugurals in the last 50 years. he explained why. and then explain why it fell short because it did not mention wall street, stay st., menlo park, you know, all those places where they created ingenuity of americans has burst forth in a way it could not in other countries. and it was all about. [indiscernible] and i think, i believe that what we need in this society at this moment time is to understand, whatever camp we're in, we need to understand the deeper reasons why for some americans self-reliance, individualism,
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fear of dependency is such -- it so real they can touch and feel it. you have to understand that when the aside. and if you're in that camp and would ask and hope that more people would say to themselves, this is the 21st century, not the 19th. the challenges we face is so complicated, and they're not even national challenges. climate changes a global challenge. help of the population has a lot to do with the health of our economy. inequality in american society has a lot to do with our capacity for future economic growth. we have to get this right. and what i hope for this book is that our road, a democratic congress. a perspective about the ideas that separate us and balance that brings us back together. and so i ask that you give some
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thought to that in your own lives. now have other books to recommend if any of you like. i am going to stop and to say thank you. appreciate the chance to be here. >> let's take about ten or 15 minutes of questions. if you have a question please raise your hand. it will send a microphone over to you. please wait until the microphones in front of you. first question. >> right here. >> thank you for your thoughts to a congressman. i'm curious, your perspective. why is it we complain about congress but so many congressman get reelected. the second thing of curious, more of your personal perspective, you have been there in the inner sanctum. you have been in the holy grail
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of our political system. now that you're on the outside, what is one thing that we, the people, the public, don't really get for your side of being a political, like the official. >> well, first, the question is how the members of congress get reelected when the place is such a mess if i can re-enter persuader saying. i have told many people that during those years i was in congress i am relatively certain that i should more hands of the 6,750,000 people in my district in any of the human being. and you get to know people, and if you listen to them and it's an overwhelming job. first of all, a 24 / seven job. the job i have no does not require most saturdays in those sundays all day. and that one often did. and i think that you just get to know so many people. to the extent you're listening
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and trying to at least appreciate what they're going through, that personal connection will carry you along with no matter which side of the aisle you're on. and so i think that's the primary reason. i think from the inside what i would say is, i believe that members of congress on both sides of the aisle basically come to congress with a vision of what they want to accomplish. they all assess the. they're all frustrated. i don't care which side of the aisle because it is so hard to realize your dreams for what you would like to accomplish when you would like to accomplish, when those groups coming you know, the constant battling. it so difficult to get anything done. those of you are old enough to remember the comic strips will remember, we have met the enemy and he is us. and i think, to a large extent
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the public has to man's one congressman that are incompatible. the most fundamental of which is this. and i was first elected to the city council. i went to the city manager. i talked to him about a variety of things. said, well, we have the capitol improvements plan. we -- the things we have to do over the next ten years would cost $70 million. and he said, here's the problem. the public collectively is now willing to pay for what the public collectively wants. kendis it is so true. it's even true in congress. we -- the expectation is that there can be current or more services delivered in an efficient, professional way. and the math does not work.
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you know, you can do more with less once in awhile, but year after year after year you simply can't. and i think that is the most difficult thing for people to understand. and that is why, you know, you look at that captain i put up there about the weapons for the bush tax cut. now, some of it is gone back, but only some of that because by and large the american people do not want any more money spent on taxes. the price that is being paid for that is not so much an individual price. it's more a price that involves the overall health of the population in the overall education level and our kids. those sorts of things. but that is bigger and broader than any individual can easily take into account. >> over here.
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>> what hope do you see when one political party actually wants to go back the government? there is a book called the wrecking crew that builds on that team. i don't see any possibility of compromise and more. >> well, the great thing about the political system is that there are elections. and i have -- i believe, the republican party is a historic and important role in the society. if it did not exist there would have to be creators. has to be a party that is more pro-business than democrats have been the past. pros some business and not so much others commander has to be a party that is skeptical about what government can do. that's why i love david brooks so much because he has both of these attitudes, i think, more or less right in balance. but because there are elections.
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right now the republican party is going through very difficult time because they got shellacked in an election year when they expected to win, even at the last moment they expected to win the presidency. and they also expected to win control of the u.s. senate. and both of those evaporated. they lost seats in the house. i believe that, though it will be a difficult process, sorry. another rounder to of alexa's like that. the republican party will start to up wind its way back into the middle. and that's not easy -- easy given some of its constituents. is because is not easy for democrats today, you know, we really have to tweet both medicare and social security. we have to. we simply cannot continue on this trend line. if you do it the right way, both of those areas, social security is a lot easier than medicare.
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you can make minor changes in benefits to minor changes, more minor in social security and medicare in, you know, revenues. and you can make some progress. but it is hard for a democrat to accept that, but it is -- the challenge is much more difficult for republicans because they have -- they have said this tagger, this anti-government tiger for so long that it is hard to get off that back when the principal primary challenges are likely to be people who are saying, you compromise to much. and that cannot so that dynamic, one of those interesting things about the 2012 election is democrats were terrified at the amount of money that call wrote and could raise. and as it turned out, that money did weigh more damage to the republican power than it did to the democratic. and so i think that all these
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controls. that's what happened. someone over here. >> today in the georgia general assembly, the appropriations committee held its third day of consideration of budget matters. a lot of the department heads were testifying, such as the community health commissions and such. and governor deal has proposed that that department reduce by 3% this year and 5% in 2014, their budget. that includes medicaid coverage in such. and one thing that i noticed, no where during the discussion was tobacco use, which is the number one preventable cause of disease, disability, death in america responsible for 19 percent of deaths each year and that 33 percent of medicaid
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recipients are smokers. that was not mentioned whatsoever. this is a great burden upon our health care system in such that it was not mentioned one time. the only time it was mentioned was in the public health department discussion, and that was transferring money from the tobacco funds to their own hearts or, you know, funding needs. so i would like to know your views on tobacco issues, if it should be one of the things brought up at these discussions because it is such a drain upon the united states. about $200 billion worth each year. thank you. >> thank you. you know, the tobacco litigation produced product of a $7 billion.
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>> of butter and 45 billion. >> of another 45 billion. in the theory was to levy a deal was that the states were to use that pot of money for anti-smoking advertising. my state of maine was one of the champions of doing that for quite a long time, but we have a new government now and we're not doing nearly as well. but it absolutely -- the example that you give is a classic example of how hard it is for legislative bodies responding to constituents to do any sort of long-term strategic, smart long-term strategic thinking in these areas. so all is a short term. because they are immediate, they basically get the attention. and those long term cost savings somehow get lost. so it is not just tobacco. i mean, that is a classic case. tragedy is that there was a very large pot of money that if it had been used by every state
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that got some of it to reduce tobacco use we would be in a better place today, by far. >> thank you. >> what part do you think the gerrymandering and redrawing drastic -- district lines has to do with all this for politicians just have to cater to the far ends of their party? did not have to really appeal to moderates and more. >> i think that redistricting is a problem. i think it is not the major problem. and the reason is this. i think that -- well, first of all, redistricting is accompanied by something else. the american people are no and have been for some amount of time sorting themselves by world view, self-reliance, community.
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they have been moving, they have more or less views. they moved to wednesday because there was a different set of use move to boost its if they're going. they even picked out communities where they feel comfortable. this is kind of what we are doing. and so the gerrymandering, the redistricting drives me crazy. i mean, it drives me crazy. when california finally, you know, adopted this bipartisan commission to do it i cheered. my democrats from california was very upset. but at the end of the day you do get more competitive elections. i think it is useful. these deeper cultural and political trends and deeper conflict within the american psyche, it is more responsible than gerrymandering. the reason i say that is you get pretty much the same kind of politics in the u.s. senate we
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cannot gerrymander the district. two per state, and in governor's races. governors represent the entire state. it is not about distance, but in congressional races and in state legislative races it can be a factor. and both parties have become very sophisticated choosing there voters instead of having the voters choose them. and so i believe generally bipartisan commissions. but like to see it all run by separate commissions with judicial review rather than have it be done by state legislature. and have it done only once in a decade. we have already talked in virginia about doing what taxes did under tom delay a few years back. that is just poisonous. transparent, if you do if it won such as census comes in and then you get a different majority in
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the legislature and try to go in and redistricting again, it's pretty clear that that is simply partisan purposes. they don't really go beyond the bounds of what is fair in a democracy like ours. >> okay. it seems that the polarization of which she spoke, you testified it accelerated after the 2000 presidential election. it seems, to some extent, that there was a perception that may be the bush folks stole the 2000 election because of the situation in florida. do you think that had some role in the intensification of the rhetoric that we're now seeing? >> i think there are a whole series of events that led up to it. if you look at the book by tom mann and warned steen, hopefully entitled it's even worse than it looks, not so hopefully.
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they are two of the most respected observers of congress in the country. one works through the american enterprise institute, a republican. tom mann works with bookings, the democrat. they have been collaborating for 40 years. and what, you know, they basically say a lot changed when you gingrich came to congress in 1978. and that he was part of the group along with dick cheney and others who came to congress, both republicans and democrats and both had started, just started a project, interviewing incoming freshmen, a selected group. there were going to follow them through. and they both right in this latest book that gingrich was the only one who had a coherent plan.
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a first-year member of congress, and that plan was essentially that the republicans had to take back control the house by basically attacking the house itself as a corrupt institution, and that would be the only way the republicans to get control. so you have that sort of measure. you have, frankly, things that before 19904, 1994 when the republicans took control, those latter years, the democrats were basically doing some things in terms of procedure on the house floor that they would tell you know are over the edge. basically they were pushing, making a minority really not have the voice that it had in the past and that, of course, when gingrich kamen and the republicans, particularly in 94 you have, you know, an intensification of the context. that is when the environment
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really became a partisan issue. that is when because that is when the business started lining up more business that it not want to run on the regulation wind up with republicans and then the environmental groups lined up with democrats, and that became much more than it had been the past. so there was the clinton impeachment. you can go on both sides. you can see how there is this back-and-forth, but i argue in the book. like gerrymandering, you know, you did this to me. i'm going to get you, but it is not as deep or is important as this inability in the 21st century for us to keep in balance these two parts of the american psyche, and i think, although i don't try to deal with them. i do believe that the anxiety that comes, especially for a man , along about of stagnation
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for the middle-class has a lot to do with why people are ineffective to an argument, makers and takers here. and there are people who are basically taking things from the government that they don't deserve. and in the 2012 election what happened was that was the most explicit contrast between self-reliance and brought it together which was one thing i was going to say. the obama's beach. if you look at that speech, that is absolutely a continuation of the campaign theme. this is a complicated world. we're better together. we have big challenges, but we have got to stick together. whereas you go back, go back and read. go back and read george bush's inaugural in 2005, which was liberty and freedom-terrorism sprinkled through the whole page. and one of which he said he
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wanted an ownership. both in congress at the time said, what you're really offering is in on their own society. this kind of playback. and then barack obama's first inaugural, which i think is kind of fuzzy, you know, broad, general, sweeping. and then you look at this one. this one is -- this is what our challenges are. and i think that that -- the difference between bush and 05 and obama in 2013 is astonishing ..
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>> and they got it all done? >> with no success whatsoever and one of the things that they repeatedly stated, which obama actually said was, we have got to raise the level of public debate in this country and let it be our legacy that we are raising the level of debate. do you feel, looking at the next four years, do you feel hopeful? do you feel like we are fighting fighting -- i mean wrestling with 15 years ago and they are having the same discussion about it that we are now having this week. >> well, some issues but the reason why i wrote the chapter on gun control is because that
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is so essential to some people's image of what it is to be an american, is that it depends on where you are. my wife and i diana who is here tonight, we have this old farmhouse that my parents bought and it's up in rural maine. maine has lots of guns and a very low murder rate. so try to persuade anybody there that gun control works. i think it's wholly different thing in a big city and the inability to understand across the aisle and it's although slippery slope arguments on both sides, slippery slope arguments i hate because it suggests that you know nothing can ever be done. but i do have some hope and the reason i have some hope is i they think that by and large, no
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trend continues forever and i think this election was a more important election in terms of the future than the first election because this one is a more clearly sorting out of these two competing views of what the 21st century is all about. and i think that we are going to make some progress, not as much as he wants, and i think we will make more if we figure out how to talk across the island we have a real conversation about individuals in the community so we understand each other better, and then maybe, just maybe we will wind up with a more pragmatic politics with a greater commitment to the common good. and those are the last two words in the book. it doesn't give away the ending really. thank you very much. a. [applause]
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>> that this day to be a planner in america was july 9, 2004, when jackson and how we frumkin and lawrence frank came up with a book called urban sprawl and public health. what the book finally did was put some technical epidemiological means on the sociological bones that the planners have been arguing about instead in no uncertain terms the suburbs are killing us in here is why. the city is going to save us in here is why. by far the greatest aspect of that epidemic or i should say of our health challenges in america's obesity epidemic.
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it's not that obesity itself is the problem but all the illnesses that it leads to. principle among them diabetes. diabetes now consumes 2% of our gross national product. a child born after 2000 has a one in three chance in america becoming a diabetic. we are now looking at the first generation of americans who are going to live shorter lives than their parents. that is probably not a huge surprise to you. we have all been talking now for a long time about the wonders of the american corn syrup in the diet and the 40-ounce sodas that people are drinking but only recently has the argument -- have the studies been done comparing diet and physical activity. one of them is called gluttony versus loss. another doctor at the mayo clinic put patients in electronic underwear and measured every motion, set a certain dietetic regime and
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started pumping calories in and then some people got and other people didn't and expecting some sort of metabolic factor at work or genetic dna factor at work, the only change was the amount of daily activity. daily activity. eniko step further and you look at these books like the blue zone. have you ever seen that? euchner ,-com,-com ma dan buettner and the blue zones and where in the world of people live the longest? you see what they do and i drink red wine and he put in a book and sell millions. that one number one rule? loose naturally. don't run marathons and triathlons and don't ask people to exercise. find a way to build normal motion into your everyday life. who is going to change and all of a sudden go from being an accountant to being a lumberjack that's not going to happen. they say well bikes to work or walk to the store.
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the one thing the book forgets to mention is that half of america you cannot like to work and you certainly can't walk to the store because you live in a cul-de-sac off of a highway. so it's fundamentally about how we build our communities in the long run but in the short run it's about where you choose to live and that is choice you can make. that is nowhere more obvious than the other discussion which is car crashes. car crashes are funny because on the one hand we nationalize it. that is just a part of living. there is a one in 200 chance that i will die in a car chance in a one in three chance that i will be seriously injured. that's part of life and there's nothing i can do about it or alternatively we feel like we are in charge of our fate on the road. we are good drivers and we can avoid the accidents. 85% of people recovering from accidents view themselves as better than average drivers. the fact is that it's not the same all over the world and it's
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not the same all over america so we have a great -- 14 americans out of 100 are dying -- 14 americans out of 100,000 are dying in car crashes. in england it five out of 100,000 ended fact no one has half the crashes. in new york city it's three out of 100,000. new york city has saved more lives in traffic than were lost since september 11 ,-com,-com ma then were lost on septembeseptembe r 11th and our entire if our entire country were to share new york city's accident rate we would save
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that doesn't sound like a huge amount. it's three times the rate of the 90s and entirely due to automotive exhaust. i mean 90 whatever%. pollution isn't what it used to be. the sickest places in america are those places which are the most car dependent and you know in phoenix you have got four months out of the year that healthy people are not supposed to leave their houses because of the amount of driving going on
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so again what's the solution and? finally, the most interesting discussion may be is the environmental discussion which has turned 180 degrees in the last 10 years. if you look at even within the global warming discussion, you talk about the carbon footprint and the project which maps where government footprints are. red is bad and green is good and you look at the united states and it looks like the satellite night sky at the united states. cooler in the suburbs and coolest in the country. but that measure of co2 per square mile. in 2001 scott arnstein at the center for neighborhood technology said what happens if instead of measuring co2 per mile we measure co2 per person or co2 per household bags we can choose to live in places where if you look at co2 per household
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a grad in the green just flip. absolutely change places and by far the healthieshealthies t place to lives in the city. manhattan burn one third of the fossil fuels of people in dallas for example and use 130 the electricity. why? they are heating and cooling their neighbors and their apartments or touching but even more importantly than that, most of it is the last driving they are doing. transportation is the greatest single country vitter two most civilians greenhouse gas. in our daily life the biggest choice we can make -- when i built my house in washington d.c. i made sure i cleaned the sustainability story prayer at the gosztola panels -- solar panels and super insulation and that the wood burning stove that supposedly contributes less eot to the environment benefit our composed enough for us naturally but of course i have the energy saver
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lightbulbs. the energy saver lightbulbs will change an entire house, saves as much electricity or i should say saves as much carbon in a year as moving to a walkable neighborhood so the whole gizmo green gadget discussion, what could i buy to make myself more sustainable, is the wrong discussion. it should be where can i live than how can i live and contribute less and the answer again is the city. it's fundamentally opposite of the american ethos, from jefferson on. cities are the moral of the health and freedom of man. if we continue to pile upon ourselves to in the cities like they do in europe we shall -- one another as they do their. and that made sense back in the 1700's when we have the whole country spread out and the biggest byproduct was fertilizer.
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so it's a longer discussion. all three of these are longer discussions, but they are all national crises. the national economic crisis, which is only going to get tougher and we have a national health crisis which is bankrupting us and a sandy proved all too clear a couple of weeks ago global warming is beginning to affect us dramatically and now we are not talking about stopping it. obviously the less of it have the better we will be and the more we can do to solve these problems. that is the center of our challenge as a nation.
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>> now on booktv patrick james explains international relations using themes found in the book "lord of the rings." this is about half an hour. >> hello unwelcome to the scholar circle. the "lord of the rings" trilogy and its recent prequel the hobbit have collectively grossed billions of dollars and now companies are planning to explore this. video games, slot machines, but can the lord of the rings actually act as a means to understand complex politics and international relations? our guest with us today says that it he can't and he has recently written a book to show that. patrick james is a professor at the university of southern california, professor and